Friday, 14 November 2014

Day 41 - How my brain works, its all about me, me, me! (And that's OK)

As the rain batters down, bouncing of the terrace outside, I'm glad I'm not a duck. I fear ducks would struggle in this weather. Its just too wet. I'm thinking of getting an arc. Really. If it doesn't stop, I'll be on Amazon shortly.

So having somehow or other flipped my wine-guzzling switch from 'obsessed' to 'cautiously un-interested' for the moment. Wolfie-wine-bugger (drinking voice extraordinaire in my head) is quiet for now, lets not distrub him).

So, I've been learning a few things about myself, sober. When last 'sober' this long I was pregnant, previous to that, I was at school. Yes, really, that was a bit of a shock to think about  I was first drunk when I was 14. So I don't really know this sober-interloper lady, sitting here, in the same house, wearing my clothes. I don't know her at all. I guess that's unfair I know the everyday coping-with-life-with-a-hangover-person but not the actually sober one, this one.

I don't quite know what to do with her. She's not quite as I expected. She's lost her bravado and her bluff. Her quick tongue and wit for now have left the building for now. She's quiet, alert and reflective. I don't doubt she's brave, in her own way, but best not mention that. I've noticed she's really not good with praise or compliments. Like really not good. She tells everyone she's stupid, silly, daft, mental, an idiot. Especially for drinking. So the days she counts up for not-drinking she struggles with the 'well dones' for those. It made her very uncomfortable at the group she attended. But she knows inside herself its a big deal, secretly she's sort-of-proud in a confused way. But she's also hard on herself.

Not drinking is just what normal people do, right. No biggie. She doesn't feel proud for stopping, she feels stupid for drinking. She's proud of other peoples efforts, just not her own. She's still quite worthless, in her mind.

If I'm honest this sober person has me a bit perplexed. I guess I didn't expect my inside person to come 'out'. She's the 'inside sort'. Hidden. Safe. Private. She doesn't trust the world. And yet she's here.

Its more than a little odd. She's even been sharing 'feelings' with her husband. Feelings. Shudder. I never expected that to happen. I normally just talk nonsense and chatter inanely about 'stuff'. I don't do feelings. That's new.

I'm also noticing this sober person is a fecking mess and has limited life skills, especially when it comes to taking care of herself. OK she's tidy enough I guess. And, clean, very clean now with all those 'sober baths'. In fact she's sparkly. But she's functional.

The old me, didn't bother much with stuff, its just something along the lines that got 'lost'. Clothes are functional, my job flits between desk and outdoor manual, so appearance isn't important. I've no make up aside a tube of foundation I bought a year ago when I got married, one old lipstick and no mascara. I cut my own hair, I do colour it, but often its a bit 'random'. I wear a hat alot. I like hats. I've always seen clothes/makeup as something other people do. I sort of slob about in my own very eclectic kind of way. I'm OK with that, or I was.

I do eat well, well I eat well cooking for other people when they're around. Day time alone, I'll shove in something to abait my hangover to help wash down the paracetamol and settle my stomach before the drinking begins. And, it always begins.

So my brains been utterly obsessed with booze and uninterested in me. With no booze now I'm trying to see if I can move forward slowly, keep that switch reversed.  So I've started to listen to you all. I've embraced some vitamins and some omega oils. I'm eating breakfast, I never thought that would happen. But, I've been struggling a bit with this new 'sober' person. The new sober me. I don't know her.

I read a blog on Mrs D's most excellent site about 'Best friends forever' by SueK who's a regular contributor on the great Living Sober site. Something in it resonated with me. 

When I first stopped drinking, it was painfully obvious that I’d lost my ability to care for myself properly. I was dealing with every single thing – physical, emotional, happy, sad – with alcohol.
Is this who this sober girl is, someone I've neglected horribly? Is this where I am not, sat with someone I don't know, don't know how to help, confused by all this change. And, shes not taken care of herself for years. Others always came first. Then the bottle came next.

Instead of living to get through to the time when I can drink, I'm actually going to have to start, erm you know, living. And, look after myself. Sue talked about when your best friend comes to stay. How do you treat them. And if they came to stay having just given up booze what would you do.

Sue says, this far better than me, quoted mindfully and directly from the link above.

What if your sober best friend is feeling upset and irrational and emotional, vulnerable and insecure because she just quit drinking, and the adjustment is overwhelming?
I bet you’d be kind and supportive, listen to her blubbering, help as much as you could, tell her how proud you are of her, and how happy you are that she’s taken this massive brave step. You wouldn’t yell at her to pull herself together and get over it. You wouldn’t drag her along to happy hour at the pub, or make her walk down the wine aisle at the supermarket, or tell her she’s a looser who’s going to fail. You’d tell you believe in her. You’d tell her to take it easy on herself.
You’d be patient, compassionate.
That’s the way we are with friends. And that’s the way we can be with ourselves too.
What could you do to be your own best sober friend right now?
Its often a joke in our house that I put crisps (chips) in a bowl, partly for portion control, partly because its pretty. I tell my friends I want to treat them nicely and using plates/bowls, putting flowers out for them. Going to a bit of 'trouble' for them is my way of respecting them and showing them I love them. I want to treat them lovely. I make their beds up, buy food they like, find things they like doing, I look after them.

As I peeled myself a pomegranate today mindful that I really need to try and eat proper food, and everyday.  I looked at the fruit bowl full of fruit my husband likes. The fridge is the same, its laden with his favourite things. Don't get me wrong I'm not an utter martyr, I like some of this stuff too. But none of it is my favourites. Bit like the cereal, now that I'm eating breakfast, I'm never been keen on breakfast (hangover), we've only cornflakes and that's all we have in. 

His favourite. My favourite was a lemsip (hot drink remedy) for breakfast filling all those nutritional needs, of both caffine and painkillers in one handy sachet. Its efficient I told myself. And when you feel like shit, easier to drink first thing, than coffee and painkillers until your stomach settles.

Yes this was my regular nutritional breakfast. No of course I don't have a problem with alcohol I told myself back then. I'm normal. [Yes I really told myself that.]

I look around this newly sober girls life. No make up aside a few scraps, boys soap/shampoo in the bathroom, functional clothes.

Sometimes I think somewhere I turned this poor boozy girl into an androgynous minion. Don't feel sorry for me that's my choice aside the bottles of booze a day, her life is pretty lovely.  She has a lovely family. She's loved. Doesn't mean I can't start to look at myself with fresh eyes though does it. The only thing in this house that is bought for me, is banana's. No one else likes them. Only the banana minion, me.
Like my new glasses......
I need to change and look after myself I think. Not just with banana's. So, I took the candle out of the present box, someone had given me as a present. Don't get me wrong I like it, its just I thought someone else deserved it more. So it went into the present box. I do that with most things I get given, I don't feel like I deserve them so I pass them on. Its not that I don't value them, I'm realising I didn't value me very much. 

Its out now and lit in the living room.  I like it.

I went the supermarket yesterday and bought some 'Shredded Wheat'. I like shredded wheat no one else in my family does. Its for me.  I'll work my way through 'his' fruit and then might go shopping for myself too. Or for us.

Its a start. So easy when you're a mum/wife/boozer to neglect your own needs. To get lost. And, lost I am.

I'll work on the well done stuff, later. I'll work on accepting kindness day by day. This new sober girl is taking a whole bit of getting use to. [And rather more hankies than I'd hoped for!] So, whilst I adjust to her, I'm going to take Sue's advice and treat her like my best friend and look after her. 

I've suggested a haircut, she's not keen, that's with people. Not yet I tell myself lodging a hat firmly on my head. Baby steps.

Thanks all for the reading I've been doing on this journey so far. I've nae clue who I am, but I'll get there. Sober. That's all I have to do, stay sober and look after myself, like a best friend would.

I do waffle on, so thank you for getting this far! If you've something kind or helpful to add or just want to say hello. Please drop a line below. I'd appreciate that. Thank you.


  1. I think the new sober-girl interloper should lighten up on herself a bit :). She's doing great---enjoy your bananas and your shredded wheat(I like shredded wheat too). Lori K xx

    1. Sober-interloper. Brilliant. I'll be nice to her I promise. Love them both too! xx

  2. I wish I could pop over and give you a big hug but North Carolina is a bit of a ways away:). I really do know where you are with this new sober person living in your house. I think she is pretty special and it will be such an interesting journey to get reacquainted .I recently have started placing a single stem of some flower or foliage on my bedside table. I used to do that. Great post daisy. KT

    1. Hey KT - virtual hugs are awesome too. A single stem just for you sounds lovely I might do that. I always use to make a wee vase of flowers for myself. Must do that again.

  3. Baby steps Daisy :) Happy to hear you're treating yourself with breakfast - and one you like. A sober treat to start the day xx

    1. Breakfast eh, who'd have thought it. a real sober surprise and a treat each day, these days before the coffee! x

  4. Loved this post, Daisy -- I had a lightbulb moment at six months sober that I wasn't stupid or clueless or inept, it was just that my coping strategies were either ineffective, inappropriate or unpractised. I'd gone through the motions of coping like an adult and it looked OK from the outside but emotionally I;'d just anaesthetised myself every evening so nothing that had happened at work got worked through -- why did that hurt me so? -- or addressed the next day because the next day I would have a hangover and be subdued and apologetic instead of angry.

    Amazing what surfaced when I got sober.

    1. Its amazing these emotions, these feelings, this 'anaethetised adult' is exactly how I was/am. Outside looks normal, good family life, everything gets done as far as folks aware. I'm scared of the changes but I think they'll be for the better. Thanks for putting a comment up.

  5. Hi Daisy, glad to find your blog and huge congrats on your six weeks- that's mega.
    I know what you mean about the household food (and the other stuff). I am the only one here who eats stuff 'that needs using up' even when I don't really like it or want it! My OH just ignores it (doesn't chuck it out though) and has what he pleases!

    I am getting better at using my 'good' cutlery, wearing my 'best' jeans but I still struggle with underwear: I always keep the nicest stuff in the drawer as a normal day doesn't seem to 'merit' it somehow!

    I,too, am a work in progress.

    1. Hey Rachel, - best cutlery, best jeans! Blimey go you! As for the undies, we both need to work on that and eating up the leftovers! Lets keep on improving together.

      Work in progresses are good.


  6. It's good to see you beginning to recognize your needs. I remember feeling similar things. And wondering how I had let go of my own choices.
    Not anymore!
    Enjoy those bananas.

    1. Somehow so many things slipped when the wine got opened. Not anymore, I'm slowly catching up!

      Thank you anne.